I wasn't sure I was going to make it last year when our 2 oldest sons moved out. Watching them pack up and move their stuff out bit by bit was way more difficult than I'd ever imagined. I felt like our family was dying; like a piece of me was dying. I felt like I'd suddenly popped over the hill and was on a slow slide down to "the end".
What on earth is my purpose now? What will I do with my time? Who am I if I'm not a mom to all 4 sons? I knew I was still a wife, but that was only half of me. The other half was being dissected. The mom half. Will they be too busy to come home once in awhile? To call? Will our family lose its closeness? Will they still need me? Is it OK and normal to want them to need me? Did we teach them everything they need to know to live a Good life with God as the center?
To make matters worse, our second son was not only moving out, he was moving into a not-so-safe part of the city to work with inner city kids. Would he be safe down there?
Believe it or not, those are just some of the questions and emotions that ran through me. I was also concerned that I'd made an idol out of my sons and our family. Was it through them that I found my joy? My fulfillment? My purpose? Those things should come from my relationship with Jesus.
Well, a year ago last June we decided to take our two younger sons on a mini-vacation shortly after we'd finished school for the year. We made reservations at a motel about a day's drive away, and took off. It just so happened that the day we pulled out of the driveway was the day our second son ended up moving out. Talk about weird. There we were, driving away, pulling out of our home for a few days, when my boy was loading his car and pulling out for good. I thought my heart would crack and crumble. I wanted to be there for him, to say goodbye. To help if he wanted/needed it. My husband knew better. He thought it would be easier on everyone if he got his weepy wife out of the way!
As we drove I kept tearing up like a leaky hose. Finally # 3 couldn't take it anymore. He reached forward from the backseat of the car and handed me a CD.
"Here mom. Let's listen to this."
I mindlessly popped it into the CD player and heard Bob Marley singing "Three Little Birds". It's over there on my play list if you want to listen to it. It's a "happy" little song with a fun beat. I immediately cheered up. Life looked better and more hopeful. Of course, my husband didn't know what was going through my head-I wasn't talking. I was just listening. Listening to the words, but thinking about The Word.
As I listened and thought my husband suddenly interrupted me: "Why are you listening to that? Do you know what a humanistic worldview that guy has?" And he reached over to turn the CD player off.
"Wait! Could we please listen to it? Listen to those words! 'Three little birds, on my doorstep, singin' sweet songs, of melodies pure and true'...."
Bob Marley may not know a thing about melodies pure and true, but when I heard those words I thought about the bible and the melodies pure and true that resonate from cover to cover.
It was like there was a slide show suddenly running in my head...pictures of my life and how I'd seen God holding onto me, loving me, healing me, teaching me...
While Bob chirped his little tune the Lord was hugging me and reassuring me.
One after another of His promises ran through my heart-
...in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)
The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. (Deut. 31:8)
... If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast. (Ps. 139:8-10)
... your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be. (Ps. 139:16)
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting. (Ps.139:23-24)
Bob and his little birdies may not know a thing about anything, but the Lord was able to use even that mindless little song to reassure me that yes, every little thing is gonna be alright.